“The primary reason for the rate request is continued reliability,” the utility said, noting that MGE plans to make transmission infrastructure improvements to harden the grid.
MGE provides generates and distributes electricity to 146,000 customers and purchases and distributes natural gas service to 152,000 customers in the central and southern parts of the state. The company is a subsidiary of MGE Energy, an investor-owned public utility holding company based in Madison, Wisconsin.
The request would increase overall electric rates by 1.7 percent – and natural gas rates by 3.7 percent – next year. If approved, the typical residential electric bill would increase by $1.50 a month and the average natural gas bill would increase by $1.70 a month. Fixed rates for commercial and industrial customers have not yet been determined and will be considered as part of the rate design process. The proposed changes would take effect on January 1.
MGE is not requesting any increase to the fixed charge for residential and small business customers in 2017. The company claims that the “average annual increase in MGE’s rates from 2013 [through] 2017 remains lower than the projected increase in the Consumer Price Index.
Specifically, with this proposed rate increase, the average annual increase in MGE’s electric rates from 2013 through 2017 will equal 0.5 percent; while the average annual increase in MGE’s natural gas rates also will equal 0.5 percent. In comparison, the projection for the Consumer Price Index for the same period is an average of 1.4 percent annually.
“We’re happy to see that they’re not proposing any increase to the fixed charge. We’re still evaluating the remainder of the proposal,” Kurt Runzler, acting executive director of the Wisconsin Citizens Utility Board (CUB), told The Wisconsin State Journal.
In the filing, some increases in electric operating expenses are offset by decreases in fuel costs.